By Annette Brooks
Christene (Chris) Krupa Downs’s tagline, A Kinder Way to Practice Law, is more than a catchy motto. Describing herself as “an average person on a mission to be kind,” practicing caring and kindness is a central part of her life, personally and professionally. She attributes lessons learned during childhood and her initial career before entering law school to her client-first approach.
Growing up in small-town Alaska, Chris helped her mom, who worked at the post office. In their teens, she and her sister spent vacations assisting postal patrons, developing people skills, and learning about customer service. In high school, she dreamed of becoming an attorney, but a college job learning bookkeeping, business management, human resources, and client support lured her away.
In her 30s, Chris began wondering, “What’s next?” The answer was law school. At Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, she was introduced to estate planning, probate, and guardianship and knew she had found her true calling. Her private practice is solely focused on these areas of law.
Genuine, Approachable, Caring Attorney
It isn’t easy for most people to talk about death or to plan for death. Chris’s mission is to provide friendly, compassionate representation that makes her clients feel comfortable having those conversations with her.
“I get to know my clients and learn about their lives. We share stories and develop a genuine connection,” Chris explains. “I actively listen to hear the spoken and to understand the unspoken and try to explain topics to my clients in easy-to-understand terms, often using analogies.”
Creating a relationship with her clients and possessing genuine empathy, Chris confides, “When I help a client with a death, I cry with them.”
Don’t Overlook the Value of Having a Plan
Chris explains that everyone has an estate, yet the value of having a will, including a guardianship plan if you have children, is often underestimated.
“Wills minimize potential conflict and let you express your wishes. Problems can arise if you don’t have a will. One of them is unintended heirs. Estranged relatives or those whom you’ve possibly never met may be entitled to your assets,” Chris explains. “For example, the musician Prince died without a will, and half-siblings he didn’t have a relationship with were entitled to part of his fortune.”
Estate planning also enables you to plan for incapacity as well as guardianship for underage children or adult children with special needs.
Highly Skilled Planning and Probate Attorney
Chris is well-respected in her field. In practice for nearly 11 years, she is one of the top-rated attorneys in the nation. She was selected by her peers as a Super Lawyer Rising Star from 2016 to 2020 and as Super Lawyers top-rated Planning and Probate Attorney in Plano for 2020.
But for Chris, accolades and awards aren’t what drives and motivates her. It’s the ability to help her clients and add value. “When I’ve added value for my clients, I can go home at night feeling good about what’s been accomplished.”
8105 Rasor Boulevard, Suite 61
Plano, Texas 75024